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Article

Access_open What does it mean to be ‘illiberal’?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Liberalism, Illiberalism, Illiberal practices, Extremism, Discrimination
Authors Bouke de Vries
AbstractAuthor's information

    ‘Illiberal’ is an adjective that is commonly used by scholars. For example, they might speak of ‘illiberal cultures’, ‘illiberal groups’, ‘illiberal states’, ‘illiberal democracies’, ‘illiberal beliefs’, and ‘illiberal practices’. Yet despite its widespread usage, no in-depth discussions exist of exactly what it means for someone or something to be illiberal, or might mean. This article fills this lacuna by providing a conceptual analysis of the term ‘illiberal practices’, which I argue is basic in that other bearers of the property of being illiberal can be understood by reference to it. Specifically, I identify five ways in which a practice can be illiberal based on the different ways in which this term is employed within both scholarly and political discourses. The main value of this disaggregation lies in the fact that it helps to prevent confusions that arise when people use the adjective ‘illiberal’ in different ways, as is not uncommon.


Bouke de Vries
Bouke de Vries is a postdoctoral research fellow at Umeå University and the KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open Toegang tot het recht in de rechtsstaat

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords rechtsstaat, toegang tot het recht, sociale dimensie, Nicholas Barber, Pierre Bourdieu
Authors Nathalie Franziska Hendrika Schnabl
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper considers access to the rule of law as a requirement for the well-functioning of the rule of law in society. In most rule of law debates, access to the rule of law is not a topic of discussion because these scholars focus themselves solely on the legalistic dimension of the rule of law. Barber was the first to mention the social dimension explicitly but without a theoretical framework. Based on the three capitals of Bourdieu, this paper offers a framework to determine the elements of the social dimension. With these capitals, barriers to the access to the rule of law for individuals can be identified, and solutions can be offered.


Nathalie Franziska Hendrika Schnabl
Nathalie Schnabl is promovenda aan de Faculteit Rechtswetenschappen van de Open Universiteit.
Article

Access_open Addressing Problems Instead of Diagnoses

Reimagining Liberalism Regarding Disability and Public Health

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2021
Keywords Vulerability Theory, Liberalism, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Public Health, Capabilities Approach
Authors Erwin Dijkstra
AbstractAuthor's information

    The public health systems of liberal states systematically fail to meet the goals and obligations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to facilitate full societal participation and independent life choices by all impaired persons, as well as the unburdening of their private caretakers. This failure does not stem from a lack of money or effort by governments and other societal institutions, but flaws in the anatomy of these systems. As these systems confine institutional assistance to the needs of persons with certain delineated disabilities, they neglect the needs of other persons, whose disabilities do not fit this mould. The responsibility for the latter group thus falls to their immediate social circle. These private caretakers are in turn seldom supported. To remedy this situation, I will present the alternative paradigm of vulnerability theory as the possible foundation for a more inclusive approach to public health.


Erwin Dijkstra
Erwin Dijkstra LLM MA is lecturer and researcher at the Department of Jurisprudence of the Leiden Law School of Leiden University.
Article

Access_open Restraint as a Source of Judicial ‘Apoliticality’

A Functional Reconstruction

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Urgenda, Miller v. Secretary of State, Norm of judicial apoliticality, Ronald Dworkin, Judicial restraint
Authors Maurits Helmich
AbstractAuthor's information

    Few legal theorists today would argue that the domain of law exists in isolation from other normative spheres governing society, notably from the domain of ‘politics’. Nevertheless, the implicit norm that judges should not act ‘politically’ remains influential and widespread in the debates surrounding controversial court cases. This article aims to square these two observations. Taking the Miller v. Secretary of State and Urgenda cases as illustrative case studies, the article demonstrates that what it means for judges to adjudicate cases ‘apolitically’ is itself a matter of controversy. In reflecting on their own constitutional role, courts are forced to take a stance on substantive questions of political philosophy. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the ‘norm of judicial apoliticality’ should therefore be rejected. The norm’s coherence lies in its intersocial function: its role in declaring certain modes of judicial interpretation and intervention legitimate (‘legal’/‘judicial’) or illegitimate (‘political’).


Maurits Helmich
Maurits Helmich is promovendus aan de afdeling Sociologie, Theorie en Methodologie van het Recht aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open The Obligation of Judges to Uphold Rules of Positive Law and Possibly Conflicting Ethical Values in Context

The Case of Criminalization of Homelessness in Hungary

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Judicial independence, Rule of law, Judicial ethics, Hungary, Criminalization of homelessness
Authors Petra Gyöngyi
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the tension between the constitutional obligation of judges to uphold rules of positive law and possibly conflicting standards of conduct arising from professional-ethical values. The theoretical analysis will be illustrated by the case of Hungary, an EU member state experiencing rule of law challenges since 2010 and where the 2018-2019 criminalization of homelessness exemplifies the studied tension. Inspired by the theories of Philip Selznick and Martin Krygier, rule of law will be viewed as a value that requires progressive realization and context-specific implementation. By contextualizing the relevant Hungarian constitutional framework with the content of the judicial code of ethics and judicial practice, it will be shown how the legitimate space for Hungarian judges to distance themselves from legislation possibly in conflict with rule of law values is reduced. Theoretical suggestions for addressing such rule of law regressions will be made.


Petra Gyöngyi
Petra Gyöngyi is postdoctoral fellow aan de University of Oslo.
Article

Access_open De blinde vlek in praktijk en discussie rond orgaandonatie

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords organ donation, ethics of organ donation, symbolic nature of the human body, ethics and ritual, symbolic legislation theory
Authors Herman De Dijn
AbstractAuthor's information

    In countries like Belgium and The Netherlands, there seems to be overwhelming public acceptance of transplantation and organ donation. Yet, paradoxically, part of the public refuses post-mortal donation of their own organs or of those of family members. It is customary within the transplantation context to accept the refusal of organ donation by family members “in order to accommodate their feelings”. I argue that this attitude does not take seriously what is really behind the refusal of donation by (at least some) family members. My hypothesis is that even in very secularized societies, this refusal is determined by cultural-symbolic attitudes vis-à-vis the (dead) human body (and some of its parts). The blind spot for this reality, both in the practice of and discussions around organ donation, prevents understanding of what is producing the paradox mentioned.


Herman De Dijn
Herman De Dijn is emeritus hoogleraar wijsbegeerte aan de KU Leuven.
Article

Access_open Legal and Political Concepts as Contextures

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Concepts, Contextualism, Essentially Contested Concepts, Legal Theory, Freedom
Authors Dora Kostakopoulou
AbstractAuthor's information

    Socio-political concepts are not singularities. They are, instead, complex and evolving contextures. An awareness of the latter and of what we need to do when we handle concepts opens up space for the resolution of political disagreements and multiplies opportunities for constructive dialogue and understanding. In this article, I argue that the concepts-as-contextures perspective can unravel conceptual connectivity and interweaving, and I substantiate this by examining the ‘contexture’ of liberty. I show that the different, and seemingly contested, definitions of liberty are the product of mixed articulations and the development of associative discursive links within a contexture.


Dora Kostakopoulou
Dora Kostakopoulou is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU and Professor of European Union Law, European Integration and Public Policy at Warwick University.
Discussion

Access_open Europe Kidnapped

Spanish Voices on Citizenship and Exile

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords migration, exile, citizenship, Europe, Spanish civil war
Authors Massimo La Torre
AbstractAuthor's information

    Exile and migration are once more central issues in the contemporary European predicament. This short article intends to discuss these questions elaborating on the ideas of two Spanish authors, a novelist, Max Aub, and a philosopher, María Zambrano, both marked by the tragic events of civil war and forced expatriation. Exile and migration in their existential perspective are meant as a prologue to the vindication of citizenship.


Massimo La Torre
Massimo La Torre is Professor of Legal Philosophy, Magna Græcia University of Catanzaro (Italy).
Article

Access_open Broken rules, ruined lives

Een verkenning van de normativiteit van de onrechtservaring

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords onrecht, Slachtofferrechten, Benjamin, Shklar
Authors Nanda Oudejans and Antony Pemberton
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hoewel de rechtspositie van slachtoffers de afgelopen decennia verstevigd lijkt, blijft de relatie tussen slachtoffer en strafrecht ongemakkelijk. Rechtswetenschappers tonen zich bezorgd dat de toenemende aandacht voor de belangen van slachtoffers uitmondt in ‘geïnstitutionaliseerde wreedheid.’ Deze zorg wordt echter gevoed door een verkeerd begrip van slachtofferschap en heeft slecht begrepen wat het slachtoffer nu eigenlijk van het recht verlangt. Deze bijdrage probeert de vraag van het slachtoffer aan het recht tot begrip te brengen. Wij zullen de onrechtservaring van het slachtoffer conceptualiseren als een ontologisch alleen en verlaten zijn van het slachtoffer. Het aanknopingspunt om de relatie tussen slachtoffer en recht opnieuw te denken zoeken wij in deze verlatenheid. De kern van het betoog is dat het slachtoffer (mede) in het recht beschutting zoekt tegen deze verlatenheid, maar ook altijd onvermijdelijk tegen de grenzen van het recht aanloopt. Van een rechtssysteem dat zich volledig uitlevert aan de noden van slachtoffers kan dan ook geen sprake zijn. Integendeel, het recht moet zijn belang voor slachtoffers deels zien in de onderkenning van zijn eigen beperkingen om onrecht te keren, in plaats van de onrechtservaring van het slachtoffer weg te moffelen, te koloniseren of ridiculiseren.


Nanda Oudejans
Nanda Oudejans is universitair docent rechtsfilosofie aan de Universiteit Utrecht.

Antony Pemberton
Antony Pemberton is hoogleraar victimologie aan Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Philosophy and Law in Ancient Rome

Traces of Stoic Syllogisms and Ontology of Language in Proculus’s Jurisprudence

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Stoicism, Roman Law, Theory of Language, Syllogisms, Classical Jurisprudence
Authors Pedro Savaget Nascimento
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper uses Stoic theory of language to gain more insight into Roman lawyer Proculus’s legal opinions on the meaning and understanding of ambiguous testaments, wills and dowries. After summarizing Stoic theory of language, the paper discusses its reception in Roman jurisprudence and situates Proculus in a Stoic legal/philosophical context. The meat of the article lies in the re-examination of Proculus’s legal opinions on ambiguities in light of Stoic theory of language, through: (1) the analysis of a case demonstrating that Proculus’s embeddedness in Stoic doctrine went beyond his technical competence in propositional syllogisms, going into the territory of Stoic physical materialism and, (2) the investigation of four cases that reveal how his approach to problems of ambiguity in unilateral legal acts converges with the Stoic conception of the parallelism between speech and thought.


Pedro Savaget Nascimento
Pedro Savaget Nascimento holds a PhD in Law and Language from the University of Birmingham (UK) and currently works as Research Designer in Belo Horizonte (Brazil).

Dascha Düring
Dascha Düring is postdoctoral research fellow, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).
Article

Access_open The Enemy of All Humanity

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2018
Keywords hostis generis humani, piracy, crimes against humanity, universal jurisdiction, radical evil
Authors David Luban
AbstractAuthor's information

    Trationally, the term “enemy of all humanity” (hostis generis humani) referred to pirates. In contemporary international criminal law, it refers to perpetrators of crimes against humanity and other core. This essay traces the evolution of the concept, and then offers an analysis that ties it more closely to ancient tyrants than to pirates. Some object that the label is dehumanizing, and justifies arbitrary killing of the “enemy of humanity.” The essay admits the danger, but defends the concept if it is restricted to fair trials. Rather than dehumanizing its target, calling the hostis generis humani to account in a court of law is a way of recognizing that radical evil can be committed by humans no different from any of us.


David Luban
David Luban is University Professor in Law and Philosophy at Georgetown University.

Lukas van den Berge
Lukas van den Berge is assistant professor of legal theory at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Carel Smith
Carel Smith is philosopher of law and associate professor at Leiden Law School.
Article

Access_open Personhood and legal status: reflections on the democratic rights of corporations

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Corporations, democracy, legal personality, personhood, inclusion
Authors Ludvig Beckman
AbstractAuthor's information

    Corporations can have rights but whether they should also have democratic rights depends among other things on whether they are the kind of entities to which the democratic ideal applies. This paper distinguishes four different conceptions of “the person” that can have democratic rights. According to one view, the only necessary condition is legal personality, whereas according to the other three views, democratic inclusion is conditioned also by personhood in the natural sense of the term. Though it is uncontroversial that corporations can be legal persons, it is plausible to ascribe personhood in the natural sense to corporations only if personhood is conceptualized exclusively in terms of moral agency. The conclusion of the paper is that corporations can meet the necessary conditions for democratic inclusion but that it is not yet clear in democratic theory exactly what these conditions are.


Ludvig Beckman
Ludvig Beckman is professor of political science at Stockholm University.
Article

Access_open Dworkin’s Rights Conception of the Rule of Law in Criminal Law

Should Criminal Law be Extensively Interpreted in Order to Protect Victims’ Rights?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords Klaas Rozemond, Ronald M. Dworkin, Legality in criminal law, Rights conception of the rule of law, Legal certainty
Authors Briain Jansen
AbstractAuthor's information

    The extensive interpretation of criminal law to the detriment of the defendant in criminal law is often problematized in doctrinal theory. Extensive interpretation is then argued to be problematic in the light of important ideals such as democracy and legal certainty in criminal law. In the Dutch discussion of this issue, Klaas Rozemond has argued that sometimes extensive interpretation is mandated by the rule of law in order to protect the rights of victims. Rozemond grounds his argument on a reading of Dworkin’s distinction between the rule-book and the rights conception of the rule of law. In this article, I argue that Dworkin’s rights conception, properly considered, does not necessarily mandate the imposition of criminal law or its extensive interpretation in court in order to protect victims’ rights.


Briain Jansen
Briain Jansen is als promovendus rechtstheorie verbonden aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Article

Access_open Over verplichte excuses en spreekrecht

Wat is er mis met empirisch-juridisch onderzoek naar slachtoffers?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2017
Keywords empirical legal studies, apologies, procedural justice, humiliation, victim rights
Authors Vincent Geeraets and Wouter Veraart
AbstractAuthor's information

    The central question in this article is whether an empirical-legal approach of victimhood and victim rights could offer a sufficient basis for proposals of legal reform of the legal system. In this article, we choose a normative-critical approach and raise some objections to the way in which part of such research is currently taking place in the Netherlands, on the basis of two examples of research in this field, one dealing with compelled apologies as a possible remedy within civil procedural law and the other with the victim’s right to be heard within the criminal legal procedure. In both cases, we argue, the strong focus on the measurable needs of victims can lead to a relatively instrumental view of the legal system. The legal system must then increasingly be tailored to the wishes and needs of victims. Within this legal-empirical, victim-oriented approach, there is little regard for the general normative principles of our present legal system, in which an equal and respectful treatment of each human being as a free and responsible legal subject is a central value. We argue that results of empirical-legal research should not too easily or too quickly be translated into proposals for legal reform, but first become part of a hermeneutical discussion about norms and legal principles, specific to the normative quality of legal science itself.


Vincent Geeraets
Vincent Geeraets is universitair docent aan de afdeling Rechtstheorie en rechtsgeschiedenis van de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Wouter Veraart
Wouter Veraart is hoogleraar rechtsfilosofie aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Article

Access_open Power and Principle in Constitutional Law

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 2 2016
Keywords sovereignty, constitutional law, positivism, constructivism, common law
Authors Pavlos Eleftheriadis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Legal and sociological theories of sovereignty disagree about the role of legal and social matters in grounding state power. This paper defends a constructivist view, according to which the constitution is a judgment of practical reason. The paper argues that a constitution sets out a comprehensive institutional architecture of social life in terms of principles and official roles that are necessary for any legitimate scheme of social cooperation to exist. It follows that legal and sociological theories of sovereignty capture only part of the truth of sovereignty. Legal reasoning engages with political power, but it is not determined by it. There is no causal chain between power and validity, as suggested by the legal positivists. The relation between power and law is interpretive, not causal. It follows that the circularity of law and the constitution, namely the fact that the law makes the constitution and the constitution makes the law, is not a vicious circle. It is part of an ordinary process of deliberation.


Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Pavlos Eleftheriadis is Associate Professor of Law and Fellow in Law at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.
Article

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Discourse-Theoretical Approach

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Right to justification, Discourse theory, Non-domination, Kant
Authors Rainer Forst
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I suggest a discourse theory of basic legal rights that is superior to rival approaches, such as a will-based or an interest-based theory of rights. Basic rights are reciprocally and generally justifiable and binding claims on others (agents or institutions) that they should do (or refrain from doing) certain things determined by the content of these rights. We call these rights basic because they define the status of persons as full members of a normative order in such a way that they provide protection from severe forms of legal, political and social domination. The very ground of these rights is the status of persons as free and equal normative authorities within the order they are subject to. In other words, these rights are grounded in a fundamental moral right to justification.


Rainer Forst
Rainer Forst is professor of Political Theory and Philosophy at the Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main.
Article

Access_open The Justification of Basic Rights

A Response to Forst

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2016
Keywords Basic rights, Justification, Kant
Authors Glen Newey
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper responds to Rainer Forst’s article ‘The Justification of Basic Rights’. I argue that Forst's main thesis is difficult to pin down, partly because it is formulated in significantly distinct ways at numerous points. I offer a possible formulation of the argument but note that this encapsulates a fallacy; I further argue that his inference of the basic rights seems to imply an over-moralisation of social life and that his argument does not distinguish rights with discretionary and non-discretionary content. Then I query Forst’s claim that a right to justification is a condition of engaging in justificatory discourse. This leads to the conclusion that what goes into the process of justification, including who figures in the discursive community, are irreducibly political questions, whose answers cannot be convincingly specified antecedently by a form of moral legislation. I argue that actual discursive processes allow for considerably more contingency and contextual variability than Forst’s construction acknowledges. This extends, as I suggest in conclusion, to the idea that content can be specified via the Kantian notion that acceptability requires the ‘containment’ of an actor's ends by another, such as an affected party.


Glen Newey
Glen Newey is professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics at Leiden University.
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